The insurance and reinsurance industry loss estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle’s impacts in New Zealand has now been raised by a further 5% by PERILS AG, taking the total to NZ $2.018 billion.
Cyclone Gabrielle drove heavy rainfall and strong winds to the North Island of New Zealand between February 11th and 17th 2023 becoming one of the most significant property insurance losses for the country.
Catastrophe loss data aggregator PERILS initially estimated an industry loss of NZ $1.543 billion for the cyclone, back at the end of March 2023, just under US $1 billion at the time.
PERILS then raised the insured loss estimate by 25% to reach NZ $1.925 billion, just over US $1.2 billion at the time.
Now, a further almost 5% has been added, taking the total insurance market loss estimate for Cyclone Gabrielle to NZ $2.018 billion, which is still roughly US $1.2 billion today due to currency fluctuation, but would have been around US $1.25 billion at the time of the storm.
PERILS said that the latest insured loss estimate is made up of of personal lines property losses which represent 54% and commercial lines property losses representing 46% of the total insurance industry loss.
The loss from Cyclone Gabrielle came on the heels of the severe flooding that affected Auckland and surrounding areas of New Zealand earlier this year.
On that flood loss, PERILS placed an initial industry loss estimate of NZ $1.65 billion, which it later raised by just over 6% to almost NZ $1.76 billion, and then more recently added another 18% to take the flood insured loss estimate to almost NZ $2 billion.
PERILS industry loss estimate for the two New Zealand events combined has now reached NZ $4.013 billion.
A number of insurers had previously said they anticipated making reinsurance recoveries after the flooding a cyclone, which have been two of the worst weather disasters in New Zealand’s recent history.
Recently, New Zealand based insurance company Tower Limited said it could make reinsurance recoveries of as much as $276 million for the flooding and cyclone events.
Darryl Pidcock, Head of PERILS Asia-Pacific, said, “According to the Insurance Council of New Zealand, the largest industry loss on record from a weather event in New Zealand prior to 2023 was NZD 171 million.
“The total loss from Cyclone Gabrielle and the North Island Floods, currently estimated at NZD 4,013 million, therefore highlights the extraordinary scale of the two events occurring so close to each other. The last six months have been very challenging for policyholders and insurers given two such large events impacting the North Island.”